Felted slippers

Felted slippers

Sorry for the long hiatus from blog posts!  I have had a busy few months.  After I got home from some awesome summer travelling, I packed up and moved to a brand new city – hello Seattle!  I have been adjusting to my new home and new job, and doing some crafts and food on the side, but this is the first “real” project I have finished recently.  Hopefully I will be doing more projects soon!

I knew my sister had been looking for a pair of cozy felted slippers for a long time, so I decided to make some for her birthday this past weekend.  I did some Ravelry research and settled on the “Duffers – revisited” pattern on Ravelry, which has 1669 projects to date.  Before I started knitting, I did some thorough searching through the project notes of other people.  I found lots of useful tips, which I have compiled in my own Ravelry notes.  That’s my favourite part of Ravelry!  I feel like I’ve learned from 1669 other people’s experiences.

Felted slippers

The idea behind felting knitted items is that you knit them extra big and loose with 100% wool, and then apply water, heat, and agitation to shrink them down and make the fibers link together into extra thick and cozy fabric.  The felting can be done in a washing machine or by hand.  I chose to do it in my front-loading washing machine, which is apparently a topic of debate, but worked reasonably well for me.  You can look at my Ravelry notes for more details.

I sprayed the bottom of the slippers with a rubber spray called Plasti Dip that has been mentioned by many other knitters on the internet using it for this exact purpose.  It made the bottoms nice and grippy so that my sister doesn’t slip on her nice (but kind of evil) hardwood floors.

Felted slippers

Credit for the lovely photos go to my sister Georgia herself!

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Knitting, sewing, and treats!

My recent sewing and knitting projects

Today I’d like to share a random assortment of things.  Above are my recently finished knitting and sewing projects.  On the left is the Norby hat designed by Gudrun Johnston for one of Brooklyn Tweed’s “Wool People” collections.  I love the patterns in these collections… I’m planning to start a sweater soon and will probably be using one of the Brooklyn Tweed patterns for that too!  In the center is an apron I just sewed.  I didn’t have enough fabric to follow a real pattern, so I just made the most basic apron possible – basically a rectangle attached to a waistband, using every inch of the pink fabric!  I sewed on a pocket as well.  On the right is a cowl made with double knitting, which is a technique that gives you a double-sided fabric.  This was my first project using the technique, and although it’s very slow going, the finished product is very thick and cozy!  The pattern is called Trapper Cowl and it’s from Interweave Knits magazine.
My recent baking

Here are a few of my edible projects as well!  In the top left are almond pear mini bundt cakes from the book Bake it Like You Mean It.  The cake was tasty although maybe a little too almond-y or a little too sweet for me.  Slices of pear poached in white wine were embedded in the middle of the cake, very yummy.  In the bottom left is a strawberry rhubarb pie following a recipe from The Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book.  I bought this book for myself using some Christmas money and have definitely gotten my money’s worth out of it!  So far I have baked the Salty Honey Pie (still my favourite), Black-Bottom Oatmeal Pie, Lemon Sour Cream Pie, Salted Caramel Apple Pie, Junipear Pie, Lemon Chess Pie (except using lime instead of lemon, and honey instead of part of the sugar – tasty but intense!), and Rhuby Rhazz Pie (the one from the photo – I used strawberries instead of raspberries).

In the top right is a blueberry pie (not from the book), and in the bottom right is a birthday cake for my boyfriend’s lovely mother, both baked on our recent trip to Saskatchewan.  The cake was layers of angel food cake with lemon curd in between, and frosted with strawberry swiss meringue buttercream, with strawberry purée poured on top.

Fair Isle Socks

Fair Isle Socks

Here’s a project I’ve been working on for a while!  I started these fair isle socks in August, right after finishing the blanket for my sister (although there were long stretches of the semester where I didn’t do any work on them).  I had a bag full of sock yarn in many colours from a previous project, and had been trying to force myself to use yarn I already had instead of buying more, so I decided to try making a pair of socks without following a pattern.  I used bits of instructions from various patterns I had used before and chose the fair isle designs and colour combinations as I went along.  It was a ton of fun, and although I was worried at times that there wouldn’t be enough contrast between some of the colour pairs, I’m very happy with the result.  I finished them the week before Christmas as a present for my mom.  They’re pretty crazy and colourful but she’ll be able to pull them off!

Fair Isle Socks

One of my favourite parts is the striping along the sole.  When I started, I was visualizing fair isle patterns all the way down the leg and foot in different coloured bands, and then a sole striped in two colours.  However, I realized pretty quickly that this was impossible to do in the round, since you need to use the same colours on the sole and the foot in each round.  I decided to keep the striping idea, but just switch colours as required, and I think the result is pretty cool.

Fair Isle Socks

Below is a picture from the very beginning of this project.  I was on the ferry, with a super terrible internet connection, trying to look up fair isle designs.  I wanted to incorporate a row of birds, since I had done a row of fish.  The only thing I could get to load on Google images was a tiny thumbnail, so I managed to recreate the drawing below from that.  In the end, the birds looked kind of bizarre so I unravelled them anyway.

Beginning of a fair isle sock

I was so excited when I finished these socks that I went out the same day to shop for yarn with my friend Ali.  I bought myself some lovely orange yarn that will soon be a hat, this time for me!

If you want to see my notes on the socks, take a look at my Ravelry page.

A Wedding Blanket

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Hello world!  Welcome to the first blog post I have ever written.  I’ve just started this website as a place to record some of my favourite artsy and foodsy projects.  Maybe a little computer science will sneak in here too, we’ll see.  The first few posts will have a clear theme to them – I’ll be putting up a few things I did in preparation for my sister’s wedding!

My lovely sister and her new husband had their big celebration yesterday.  When I found out about their engagement a few months ago, I decided that a knitted blanket would make a great wedding gift.  I have never knitted a blanket before, and it seemed like an appropriate occasion for a big project that they would both be able to use.  A while back, I had bookmarked the Umaro pattern by Jared Flood on Ravelry.  I chose it for this project because the 10mm needles and extra bulky yarn made the idea of a 4×5′ project less intimidating.  The recommended yarn turned out to be the nicest and most reasonably priced option I found at the yarn store.  I stuck with the cream colour in the hope that it won’t go out of style too quickly.

After making a reasonable start on the project in the spring, I brought the remains of my 13-skein sack of yarn to Seattle in May.  Over the following twelve weeks I knit about three rows.  But that’s okay, I still had a month of vacation!  Plenty of time!  With my job in Seattle done, I returned to Canada and I knit up a storm over the next couple of weeks – first on Savary Island, and then on the farm in Saskatchewan where these photos were taken.

I gave the blanket to my sister and her (now) husband last weekend, by arranging it as part of the bridal suite my parents had set up for them.  The weather yesterday was a little chillier and wetter than we had hoped for the wedding, but the party was hopping anyway.  And my sister wrapped the blanket around her for warmth during her wedding dinner.

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Photo credits: Emma Sheppard